The performance of high temperature composites can be significantly affected by the presence of residual stresses. These stresses arise during cooling processes from fabrication to room temperature due to mismatch of thermal expansion coefficients between matrix and fiber materials. This effect is especially pronounced in metal matrix and intermetallic composites. It can lead to plastic deformations, matrix cracking and fiber/matrix interface debonding. In this work the feasibility of ultrasonic techniques for residual stress assessment in composites is addressed. A novel technique for absolute stress determination in orthotropic materials from angular dependencies of ultrasonic velocities is described. The technique is applicable for determination of both applied and residual stresses and does not require calibration measurements on a reference sample. The important advantage of this method is that stress is determined simultaneously with stress-dependent elastic constants and is thus decoupled from the material texture. It is demonstrated that when the principal plane stress directions coincide with acoustical axes, the angular velocity data in the plane perpendicular to the stress plane may be used to determine both stress components. When the stress is off the acoustical axes, the shear and the difference of the normal stress components may be determined from the angular dependence of group velocities in the plane of stresses. Synthetic sets of experimental data corresponding to materials with different anisotropy and stress levels are used to check the applicability of the technique. The method is also verified experimentally. A high precision ultrasonic wave transmission technique is developed to measure angular dependence of ultrasonic velocities. Examples of stress determination from experimental velocity data are given. A method is presented for determination of velocities of ultrasonic waves propagating through the composite material with residual stresses. It is based on the generalized self-consistent multiple scattering model. Calculation results for longitudinal and shear ultrasonic wave velocities propagating perpendicular to the fibers direction in SCS-6/Ti composite with and without residual stresses are presented. They show that velocity changes due to presence of stresses are of order 1%.